Becoming the leader you know you want to be requires time and commitment. There is no better time to start than today. Think of a manager you had that you truly enjoyed working for. What did you appreciate about their leadership style? What skills did they use to be an effective leader? Regardless of your current skills, we all can improve our leadership skills.
There are opportunities each day to gain more experience and practice, not just at work. Plan a weekend trip for the family. Hold a family meeting. Organize and host a party. Take advantage of every leadership opportunity to hone your skills.
Ways to build your leadership skills:
- Work on your communication. This is the number one skill great leaders have. If you can’t communicate clearly, your team can’t deliver. Be transparent with your communication. Be present. Some questions to ask yourself: Does everyone know what you expect from them? Does everyone have the skills necessary to accomplish the goal? Am I listening effectively to each team member? Does the team have the resources to deliver?
- Work on being influential, not authoritative. No matter the situation, people appreciate being influenced, not being demanded to do something. Being able to influence is the second most important skill to build. Ways to be influential: collaboration, sharing information, creating meaningful relationships.
- Develop a vision and inspire your team. Take the necessary time to determine the goal and how you are going to get there. Share the goal with the team outlining the steps necessary to complete the goal and timeframe with the due date. Include everyone in the strategy session. Listen to the feedback you receive. Help team members see how they will benefit from the achievement of the goal.
- Wear your values. Many team members aren’t sure what to expect from an unknown leader. Each person has their own code of conduct. Let everyone see what you stand for every day, not just sometimes. Each decision you make provides an example of your values. Your actions speak louder than your words. Be confident enough to let everyone know what you expect from yourself and others.
- Keep a positive attitude. This can be challenging when things have taken a turn for the worse, and yet, it is more important during those times. The people you lead will more times than not, mirror your attitude. Staying positive, especially when issues arise, helps you and your team come up with solutions to alleviate the issue at hand and keep the project moving forward.
- Find ways to motivate each team member. Ask questions, listen, gather information. Even though you see them as a team, they see themselves as individuals on a team. At a minimum, encourage and give positive feedback on a regular basis.
- Learn and advance your skills. The most effective way to enhance your leadership skills is to find a mentor with skills you admire. If you’re unable to find a suitable mentor, there are other options. Read about strong leaders from the past or current, there are many great books on leadership, websites, formal education, to name a few.
Practice these skills. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills. Learn a little each day and apply it vigorously. Gauge your results and seek improvement. Few people try to grow, much less learn their leadership skills. If you truly want to be an effective leader, practice, be open to feedback, and stay in learning mode all the time.
Leaders can change the world. Becoming a stronger leader can have a positive effect on your personal and professional life. Regardless of your current skills, there is much you can do to improve your leadership abilities, an important one is finding a mentor to help you grow your skills. An effective leader provides many benefits to their employer and their team. Leaders provide a vision, motivation, and direction while shielding their team from many of the unappealing components of a workplace team.
Becoming a more skillful leader requires education and experience. You’re unlikely to enhance your skills without time and effort. Don’t let fear stop you from becoming the leader you always wanted to be. Take it one step at a time, learn from your mistakes, and always be open.
Download my free worksheet to help you clarify where you are and where you want to be on the path of becoming the leader you know you want to be. Good luck with your transformation!